Palm Releases Info on m500 Cradle Exchange Program

On March 28, Palm will begin its program for replacing old m500 series cradles with new ones that offer better protection from static electricity. According to Palm, this electrostatic discharge (ESD) disrupts the handheld enough that it is no longer able to HotSync. The original cradles meet CE standards (8KV) for protection against ESD but its improved E and H cradles include enhanced static electricity buffers. Palm will replace for free cradles that shipped with the m500 series that do not have a sticker on the bottom with an E or H on it.

People with the old cradles need to request a replacement. Palm is not yet exchanging cradles but it does have a sign-up sheet on its website where people can request that Palm notify them when the program begins so they can request one. Again, this will be on March 28, a week from today.

The Cradle Exchange Program is being offered March 28 -\through September 28, 2002 for United States customers. The company says details for other countries will be available shortly.

Palm has been shipping the enhanced cradles with all its models since November. It has also been sending them to some users who have handhelds with USB problems because of ESD. The new cradles can be identified by the sticker on the bottom.

Naturally, this won't help people who already have a handheld that won't HotSync, though it will prevent it from happening again. Palm will replace any handheld that has the problem. Contact Palm's support staff to find out how to get a replacement unit.

The now-discontinued m505 was especially prone to experience the problem. According to Palm, neither the handheld nor the cradle is damaged by ESD, but the synchronization software needs to be reset by Palm.

There are a couple of unauthorized fixes to get the handheld HotSyncing again, both of which involve forcing the handheld to reset by cutting off its power. The first method is done by leaving the handheld on until the battery is drained to the point where it shuts itself down. The second method involves taking the back of the handheld and disconnecting the battery for a few minutes.

Thanks to Sheldon Smith for the tip. -Ed

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'Releases' in title is misspelled

I.M. Anonymous @ 3/21/2002 2:23:00 PM #

RE: 'Releases' in title is misspelled
Ed @ 3/21/2002 2:26:51 PM #
* sigh * Thanks. Sorry, I'm trying to do too much all at the same time today.

News Editor


scat_sweeney @ 3/21/2002 2:26:29 PM #
If Palm makes us ship our old cradles before they will ship a "fixed" cradle then what will we do meanwhile? I'm guessing that they will not require us to ship our current cradles.

* Commit random acts of coolness. *
RE: Meanwhile?
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/21/2002 2:29:16 PM #
I have two cradles - neither has an E or H on it. I guess I'll send them in one at a time...

RE: Meanwhile?
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/21/2002 2:31:56 PM #
Meanwhile, you can:
hope the batteries don't run down, and hope you don't need to hard reset

RE: Meanwhile?
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/21/2002 3:11:03 PM #
I would imagine that they wouldn't want/need you to send your cradle back. What would they do with it anyway?

They'll probably just tell you to pitch it once the new one arrives.


RE: Meanwhile?
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/21/2002 3:11:53 PM #
I've got a slightly different problem. I purchased an additional old (i.e., non-E) cradle to work with a M125 Palm on my home computer, but I have since upgraded to a M515 and kept the old cradle to use. When I hit the Palm website this option doesn't exist as a possibility. I don't want to fry the M515 with the old cradle.

Why not earlier?

Stefanos @ 3/21/2002 2:58:52 PM #
If Palm was shipping the enhanced cradles since November, it is safe to say they knew about ESD at least 1-2 months earlier. When did Palm actually admit there is a problem?

RE: Why not earlier?
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/21/2002 3:43:34 PM #
Palm first officially admitted there was a problem in November:

Acccording to an earlier article, Palm held off doing this cradle replacement until now because it was busy manufacuring the new cradles. Not much point promising people they would replace their cradle if they didn't have any replacements.

Just USB, right?

Stefanos @ 3/21/2002 3:06:58 PM #
Does ESD affect USB cradles only?

Also, if someone has more than one if the old cradles, do the extra ones get replaced too? Palm's page isn't clear on this.

RE: Just USB, right?
scat_sweeney @ 3/21/2002 5:41:25 PM #
I have a serial cradle that I purchased to go into my ancient computer at work and it has an "E" on the bottom. Perhaps you will just have to wait and see what palm has to say when this ball is officially rolling.

* Commit random acts of coolness. *


I.M. Anonymous @ 3/21/2002 3:25:40 PM #
My first m505 was fried by this problem. Palm replaced it with a refurb, and the new Palm came with an "E" cradle. I still get tremendous static discharge at work. We have a really dry environment at work. I don't have this problem at all at home, but I have a good humidifier system at work there. Even after Palm graciously replaced my Palm with a refurbished unit :( I still have problems. I've had a few events on really cold days (low internal humidity) on which the Palm will take a good static charge and then do all sorts of bizarre things once on the cradle. On one such event the discharge damaged the data in RAM (programs) so badly that I had to hard reset for the first time in my long Palm history (dating back to the Palm Pro days).

Although I thank Palm for their efforts, I'm still not a happy camper. I feel like I need one of those copper straps to drag behind me all the time to ground me out and dissipate the static charge!


RE: Unconvinced
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/21/2002 4:01:40 PM #
It appears that the problem goes beyond the cradle. I have now had 3 M505's (waiting for refurb #4) go to a state where the charge light is on when removed from my pocket - the unit is then locked and after a reset will no longer sync. I live in a very dry climate and suspect static discharge. In each case the failure came without the unit being anywhere near the cradle. Palm tech people do not seem to be willing to discuss the fact that the problem might be in the unit itself.

RE: Unconvinced
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/21/2002 4:06:07 PM #
Neither the Palm nor the cradle is CAUSING the static you are having. If the static is bad enough in your work environment to cause the problems you describe, you should do something about it. They sell anti-static pads for the floor some kind of pad to put on your desk to touch that you can ground. There are sprays and all kinds of other solutions as well. I always try to ground myself when I first sit at my desk to eliminate static before touching any computing equipment.

RE: Unconvinced
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/21/2002 4:25:43 PM #
However, isn't the purpose of the Palm portability? It should be able to be carried in a pocket without having some type of ESD problem that causes it to become unusable.

RE: Unconvinced
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/21/2002 7:37:37 PM #
This problem doesn't occur carrying it around in a pocket or carrying it in general. The device would have to be grounded before any kind of static discharge would go to it.

RE: Unconvinced
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/21/2002 11:19:52 PM #
Oh! I get it. I can have a fully funcitional electronic mobile device, just as long as I don't allow it to touch anything. Yep, that's a good solution. Well, at least if Palm can't get a better handle on this issue, I know that I won't have to get up my new office nickname of "Sparky".


RE: Unconvinced
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/22/2002 12:56:45 AM #
> I can have a fully funcitional electronic mobile
> device, just as long as I don't allow it to touch
> anything.

You don't get that this is applicable to any electronic device, do you? Pretty much one of the main causes of problems with any electronic device.

RE: Unconvinced
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/22/2002 8:12:33 AM #
However, I don't have this problem with any other electronic device in my office, or elsewhere. The only other device that has ever caused me any concern was my Palm IIIx, which used to zap me through the exposed case screws. However, that Palm never had a system problem or any other issue from the static buildup.

In the past when people have offered skepticism about the stability of such an electronic device for keeping crucial information, I've said to them that the only time that I ever lost data was when I dropped my Palm Pro and the memory card fell out.

I can't say that anymore. My m505 has been "nice," but it has not lived up to expectations. Sorry, but the truth hurts sometimes.


RE: Unconvinced
dcslewis @ 1/24/2003 1:40:24 PM #
I've had about 8 units over the last 3 years and have NEVER had a static problem.

I have had 2 505's for the last year and have never had a static problem.

I just upgraded both units to the 515 and the Tungsten. So, we will see if I start having problems...


m515 Cradles?

I.M. Anonymous @ 3/21/2002 4:58:55 PM #
Is there a problem with the m515 cradles as well, or has Palm sent out these units with the new cradle?

I.M. Anonymous @ 3/21/2002 5:03:44 PM #
RTA = Read the Article

"Palm has been shipping the enhanced cradles with all its models since November. "

RE: m515 Cradles?
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/6/2002 11:48:52 PM #
My m515 now suffers from SUDS, sudden usb death syndrome. This is apparently the same ESD problem that KO'd my two earlier m505's. Palm has huge quality problems.

Old Palm Pro User

RE: m515 Cradles?
palmjoke @ 12/18/2002 11:41:10 AM #
Yes, they are still having major problems. I am having the same USB problem with my 515. How do I know it's a USB problem? Well, I can sync with a serial cradle. I am also unconvinced that Palm has rectified this problem with the 515's.


I.M. Anonymous @ 3/21/2002 5:19:38 PM #
Palm jacked you all good. You guys will be playing musical cradles until you buy a real Palm (i.e. Handera, Handspring, Clie, Kycera et al.)from a company that knows how to make functional units. If M$ tried to pull the crap that Palm has tried for the last several months you all would be screaming bloody murder.

I.M. Anonymous @ 3/21/2002 9:51:28 PM #
You should calm down. It's just a PDA.

palmjoke @ 12/18/2002 11:44:03 AM #
Good point. Perhaps we should all be looking to other manufacturers. I haven't heard of this crap happening with other pda's- has anyone else? While it is true that these are "just pda's", they are mission-critical for management where I work. Palm's "advanced exchange" system to replace them is a joke! I can't even believe that to replace a defective unit that I purchased brand new, I have to pay another $25. This is almost worse than Microsoft! The only way to have 24x7 operation of these things is to have about 3-5 spares sitting around.

dcslewis @ 1/24/2003 1:45:48 PM #
I continue to prefer palm because of the excellent customer service support I have gotten in the past.

I thought about the Sony units but stick with palm because I know (think) they will be there for me If I have a problem.

I was never charged for a replacement unit. I had a IIIc die on me, but palm replaced it for no charge.


Third method use serial cable

I.M. Anonymous @ 3/21/2002 8:01:09 PM #
I know that this is not a popular method. I happened to buy a serial cable so that I could use POSE to download my ROM since it does not support USB. Then, a week or so later, I had the hotsync problem with my USB. So, I went back and used the serial cradle and I was able to hotsync. I read on pdalive or pdageek that someone still had a problem with 'E' cradle. Having serial cradle may be a way to protect your investment after your warrantee expires. I don't recall anyone mentioning this before, but I didn't read this too closely until it happened to me. Of course, Palm should have done something sooner about this problem.

Related to battery issue?

I.M. Anonymous @ 3/21/2002 10:47:45 PM #
All of a sudden today my m505 stopped hotsyncing and when I took it off the cradle in frustration, I set it down for a few minutes and then noticed that the battery monitor was visibly reduced, I watched it for a few minutes and it drained itself from almost %100 to "battery warning" in ten-fifteen minutes, not using it, and no backlight.

The same thing happend twice in the summer when it was still under warantee. Actualy it was once for stopping to hotsync, once for the batery. Two different units.

Am I totaly hosed now that my warantee is over? Or will they still take care of me?


RE: Warranty Expiration
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/22/2002 12:48:54 AM #
My USA m505 came with a 1 year warranty (on a sheet that makes it look worldwide). Since it was first available May 2, 2001 (that's when I got mine), you still have over a month left. The 90 day free support call period doesn't apply to warranty issues. Yes, they'll ask for your card number to charge the $25, but they don't charge it if the problem turns out to be covered under the warranty (as yours almost certainly is - it sounds like a loose solder blob). They'll only charge you if the solution is something like "reset your Palm" (and it works).

mike d

Palm Tech Support reply

Cheetah @ 3/22/2002 3:20:23 AM #
This was part of the Palm Tech support reply when I told them my Palm was having this problem:

Palm, Inc. stands behind each and every one of it's products. We have
tested and approved every one of our products and each piece of hardware
is manufactured according to IEEE regulations and standards. We are not
aware of any of our products that cause the malfunction of any piece of
hardware on any personal computer.

Now how do they get away legally for saying the above???

RE: Palm Tech Support reply
dcslewis @ 1/24/2003 1:52:56 PM #
Perhaps it is the truth?


What about the rest of the World?

I.M. Anonymous @ 3/22/2002 3:57:59 AM #
This all well and good for the small percentage of people who live in the USA but what about the rest of the World! Don't we deserve the same level of service from Palm?

RE: What about the rest of the World?
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/22/2002 4:41:47 AM #
That's official, I have just been told by Palm-tech Europe.

I bought a Sony for my Dad, and it hasn't failed, it looks better, works faster doesn't have weird USB problems ....

What is the sensible choice?

RE: What about the rest of the World?
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/22/2002 8:34:52 AM #
After ignoring the Sony troll, I looked at the article and saw this: "The company says details for other countries will be available shortly. "

RE: What about the rest of the World?
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/23/2002 10:38:41 AM #
"After ignoring the Sony troll"

I don't see any Sony or Clie related stuff in the orginal post, are you Palm users so insecure that you need to blame all the critizism of Palm on Clie users ? I'd say it's a real palm user complaining there.

"avaliable shortly"

What is Shortly mean to you, Some people think 10 years is short, some thing 5 is short, some thing 1 year short, some will think even 5 mins is too long.

RE: What about the rest of the World?
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/26/2002 6:33:46 AM #
After emailing Palm (UK) about this, I received the following reply - make of it what you will!

[sent on tuesday 26th march]
"Unfortunately we are not aware of UK customers having static problems with their cradles and are not offering an exchange. I apologise for any inconvenience caused. If you are having a problem with your cradle contact Technical Support."


I.M. Anonymous @ 3/23/2002 9:59:41 AM #

I.M. Anonymous @ 3/23/2002 10:33:56 AM #
yes...check the archives here at PIC...weird battery behavior and then sudden death...sometimes heat.



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